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Updated 12:45 a.m. | It’s 8 p.m. on the East Coast, and Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have all picked up victories so far as the Super Tuesday showdown for Ohio remains uncalled.
Gingrich won his native state of Georgia by a wide margin — he represented the state for two decades in Congress, including his four years as Speaker. Romney easily picked up Massachusetts, where he served as governor from 2002 to 2006, as well as Vermont and Virginia. Oklahoma was quickly called for Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator.
But the real prize is Ohio, where Romney and Santorum are battling in a close race, according to early returns. Tennessee might also be shaping up as a close race between Romney and Santorum. Full story
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, a Republican running for the nomination in Arizona’s 4th district, announced today he is gay and said he is stepping down as a co-chairman of the Romney for President campaign in Arizona. He also said he would continue his race for Congress.
Babeu, an immigration hard-liner running against Republican Rep. Paul Gosar in the new district, had been the subject of reports in the Phoenix New Times that he was having a relationship with an illegal immigrant and that he had threatened the man with deportation if the immigrant went public with their relationship.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the non-binding Maine presidential caucuses today, capping off a day on which he also won the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll.
Romney took 39 percent of the vote in Maine, where fewer than 5,600 votes were cast, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (texas), who got 36 percent of the vote. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) did not compete in the Pine Tree State but got 18 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Full story
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, carrying 38 percent of the vote.
It is a comeback of sorts — Romney was a three-year winner from 2007 to 2009, but had come in behind Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) the past two years. Full story
If you’ve ever been to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., you know that it’s a virtual treasure trove of political tchotchkes.
The event wraps up tomorrow with straw poll results announced at 4:15 p.m., followed by a speech from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 4:30 p.m.
While the other presidential contenders may have tailored their Conservative Political Action Conference speeches to the crowd, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich chose to stick to his standard campaign speech today, ticking off a series of policy positions to largely polite applause.
Gingrich was repeatedly interrupted by sustained applause during last year’s CPAC and was treated like a conquering hero before and after his speech.
But this year, the Georgia Republican found himself in a much different position. Instead of a rousing stem-winder, Gingrich walked the listless crowd through dozens of his domestic and foreign policy proposals. Instead of constantly finding himself interrupted by standing ovations, Gingrich went nearly five minutes before hearing his first applause. Full story
Mitt Romney laid out his conservative credentials today in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, assuring activists that he is indeed one of them.
“I understand the battles we as conservatives must fight because I have been on the front lines and expect to be on those front lines again,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “This gathering has always welcomed me, and you’ve consistently supported me. Not because of my rhetoric but because of my record in that deep blue state.”
Romney won the CPAC straw poll in 2007 and 2008, and going into the 2008 gathering was seen as the conservative alternative to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Speaking to the same crowd four years later, Romney had some persuading to do to a segment of the GOP electorate still unsure of his authenticity. Full story
Former Sen. Rick Santorum feels so at home at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was joined onstage by nearly his entire family for his speech this morning.
The presidential hopeful came to the gathering fresh off three primary wins this week and with an aura of momentum not felt since the week before the Iowa caucuses. With his wife, sons and daughters standing behind him, Santorum made the case to the conservative activist crowd in Washington, D.C., that he is the GOP candidate they could trust.
“I know you, and you know me,” Santorum said. “And that’s important.” Full story
In general, reporters hate math. But, there are times when we just can’t escape doing it.
We find ourselves reaching for a calculator four times a year when candidates and many political action committees file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. And it comes into play every presidential year when we begin to assess the delegate math needed to get a presidential nomination and then the electoral college math for winning in November. Full story